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Wandering Souls-11

October 12, 2013

 An efficiency apartment furnished and utilities included.  Dewey was moved in in a week, he and a bag of clean clothes.  He had left his personal effects, the few of them, in the storage locker, they seemed to have nothing to do with him now.
     He had his little TV for the news and his radio and he kept the radio on most of the time, listening to a station that played the music of his youth, now called, “Golden Oldies.”
     He hiked up and down Lawrence  trying to to get his legs under him again and it was during this, lurching up the black side, that he thought he might see the kid, the break-in kid from the warehouse again.  That he might live around here.  Later he veered off of Lawrence Avenue and went progressively
farther into the black neighborhood, a part of town he’d never visited before and looked closely at the people he saw there, noticing passerbys for the first time in his life.
     And he was looked at more than he looked.  A white man walking these sidewalks was rare, rare enough for one or two people who happened to see him to call back into their houses for others to ‘come and see this.’
     “You lost?”
     He was a tall thin man, thinner than the man Dewey was looking for and darker, a rich chocolate with a sneering face and clenched fists.  He was flanked by other young black men, all of them wearing clothes that seemed to large for them, their trouser cuffs dragging on the pavement.
     “You don’t belong around here.”
     “I don’t?”
     “No white man, you don’t.  What you looking for around here?  Dope?  Some black pussy?”
     “What you’ll get down here is your ass whipped.”
     “Is that right?”
     “That’s fucking right motherfucker.”
     “You can choose not to.”
     “Choose not to what?”
     “Whip my ass.”
     “What kind of shit is this?  I’ll break your chicken head whitebread.”
     “You break my head, this head, that guy’s head…so what?  Everybody breaks heads.  You’re just one more head-breaker.  But you got the power.  You choose what you’re going to do about me.  You break my head, I must have enough power for you to take me seriously.  Why?  I’m nothing to you, nothing at all, but you’re going to take the trouble to kick my ass and put up with the hassle of all the cops sniffing around and all that shit.  Now you’re giving me the power.  I’ve got the power making you act, causing me trouble.”
     “Yeah.  Think about it.  What are you pissed off for less I’m doing it?”
     “So take it back.  Don’t give me the power.  Don’t give me anything at all.  Just let me go by.  Nothing to you.  One more piece of shit walking along.  Be gone in a minute.  Make no trouble.  Make nothing at all.  The only importance I’ve got is what you’re giving me.  So don’t.  What difference do I make?”
     “Don’t you even try to tell me what to do.”
     “I am already.  You have to beat my ass, you’re not doing it.  I’m making you do it, but you don’t have to.  You don’t have to do anything.”
     “Fucking right I don’t have to do anything.”
     “So don’t.”
     “Look.  Just fly away shit bird and make it quick.”
     “You got it.  Just as fast as I can.”


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